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Nordic Trumpet Concertos - Wessman, Etc / Antonsen, Lindberg

Release Date: 08/28/2007 
Label:  Bis   Catalog #: 1548   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Harri WessmanBritta ByströmAlfred JansonChristian Lindberg
Performer:  Ole Edvard Antonsen
Conductor:  Christian Lindberg
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nordic Chamber Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 5 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

NORDIC TRUMPET CONCERTOS Ole Edvard Antonsen (tpt, cnt 1 ); Christian Lindberg, cond; Nordic CO BIS 1548 (65:24)

WESSMAN Trumpet Concerto. BYSTRÖM Förvillelser . JANSON Norwegian Dance. 1 C. LINDBERG Read more class="ARIAL12bi">Akbank Bunka

It must be every soloist’s dream to have a conductor who really understands one’s instrument. How lucky was Ole Antonsen then, previously a member of the Oslo Philharmonic before bravely embarking on a solo career, to have one of the world’s great trombonists in charge of the orchestral contributions. The pair seems to have some sort of telepathic link. Purely from this point of view alone, this disc is the bringer of many delights.

Antonsen is a virtuoso of the very highest order, fully worthy to be spoken of in the same breath as contemporaries such as Sergei Nakariakov. He provides the perfect introduction to the music of these four composers (most, if not all of which, I suspect, are practically unknown outside their native lands).

Harri Wessmann (b. 1949) is a Finnish composer who describes his compositional method as “a sort of contrapuntally treated jazz harmony.” Despite this, the music also includes reference to the so-called “Landini cadence” in the opening theme (a musical statement the composer refers to as his “Landini theme”). The work in fact opens as gently as can be, and it is to Antonsen’s eternal credit that when he enters he continues the mood rather than disturbs it. Antonsen possesses a liquid legato, and every note is hit right through the middle; on top of this, his understanding of phrasing in this work appears complete. Delicacy again informs the brief second movement (the composer makes very effective use of muted trumpet against solo violin) before the much more active finale (the longest movement) displays Antonsen’s superb articulation. An effective duet with the oboe is notable.

Britta Byström (b. 1977) studied at the Royal College of Music, Stockholm. Her work Förvillelser (“Delusions”) dates from 2005. There are five brief movements (the last two are played without a break). The title derives from a novel of the same name by Hjalmar Söderberg, which concerned a young man who drifted endlessly, watching his life fall away from him. The trumpet is the main protagonist. Echo effects with the trumpet, glittering orchestration, and true pianissimos forming the backdrop of an implied hallucinogenic journey all add up to an approachable, well constructed, and imaginative piece. The sound world is unashamedly conservative.

A title such as Norwegian Dance implies, to me at least, a light work of short duration. Norwegian Alfred Janson (b. 1937) thinks differently, as his dance clocks in at just under 13 minutes. Jansen is a jazz performer who clearly thinks big, as his piece begins with a recapitulation of the entire history of music (“Adam beat an even pulse on a hollow tree trunk, and Eve danced”). Eventually the center of musical gravity moved from the feet to the head, and elitist music was born. This piece, for cornet and string orchestra, begins with the music emerging out of a cocoon, as rhythm begets dance. The implication of wide-open spaces is clear at times, and the work includes a tremendous, lyrical cadenza (expertly dispatched by Antonsen).

Anyone who has witnessed Christian Lindberg perform will know he is a character and a half. Predictably unpredictable, even the title of his piece, Akbank Bunka , begs explanation. It is a combination of Turkish and Japanese (you knew that really, didn’t you?). “Akbank” is the name of a Turkish bank, while “Bunka” is the Japanese word for culture. Will that help you appreciate the piece? Almost certainly not. The first movement, by turns grand and glacial, is entitled, “Akolebank”; the second, “Japabunka” is more ruminative, while all that can be said of the finale, “Turkjazz,” is that it lives up to its name. Oh, and it is tremendous fun.

Antonsen is also a conductor, and according to his biography he will be involved in a succession of releases on the BIS label. Good news, then.

FANFARE: Colin Clarke
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Trumpet by Harri Wessman
Performer:  Ole Edvard Antonsen (Trumpet)
Conductor:  Christian Lindberg
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nordic Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1987; Finland 
Length: 18 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Förvillelser by Britta Byström
Performer:  Ole Edvard Antonsen (Trumpet)
Conductor:  Christian Lindberg
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nordic Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2005 
Norwegian Dance for Cornet and Strings by Alfred Janson
Performer:  Ole Edvard Antonsen (Trumpet)
Conductor:  Christian Lindberg
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nordic Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Akbank Bunka by Christian Lindberg
Performer:  Ole Edvard Antonsen (Trumpet)
Conductor:  Christian Lindberg
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nordic Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 

Sound Samples

Trumpet Concerto: I. Andante
Trumpet Concerto: II. Larghetto molto elastico
Trumpet Concerto: III. Allegro
Forvillelser: I. Liberamente - Ritmico
Forvillelser: II. Dolce
Forvillelser: III. Calmo
Forvillelser: IV. Energico
Forvillelser: V. Grazioso
Norwegian Dance
Akbank Bunka: I. Akolebank
Akbank Bunka: II. Japabunka
Akbank Bunka: III. Turkjazz

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